United Kingdom opens probe into former PM Cameron’s lobbying

United Kingdom opens probe into former PM Cameron’s lobbying”

It comes after Cameron, UK prime minister from 2010 to 2016, was exonerated by Britain's lobbying watchdog over his Greensill links.

There is no suggestion the former Conservative Party leader has done anything illegal, but the issue has raised questions over how companies use paid lobbying to gain access to ministers.

Mr Cameron began working as an adviser to Greensill Capital in August 2018, two years after he stepped down as prime minister.

The Financial Times and Sunday Times newspapers have reported that Cameron contacted ministers directly to lobby on behalf of Greensill Capital, including sending text messages to finance minister Rishi Sunak and arranging a private drink between Greensill and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The row surfaced when it emerged that Mr Cameron had privately lobbied ministers, including through texts to Mr Sunak, to win access to an emergency coronavirus loan scheme for Mr Greensill.

"In my representations to government, I was breaking no codes of conduct and no government rules", Mr Cameron said.

He added that "many of the allegations" made in the last few weeks "are not correct", challenging what he called the "false impression" that Mr Greensill, the head of the firm, was a senior member of his Downing Street team.

"As I recall, I met him twice at most in the entirety of my time as prime minister", he added.

In his lengthy statement Cameron argued that he had believed it was right for him "to make representations on behalf of a company involved in financing a large number of United Kingdom firms".

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"This was at a time of crisis for the United Kingdom economy, where everyone was looking for efficient ways to get money to businesses".

The company's demise has threatened thousands of jobs in the United Kingdom steel industry, as Greensill was a major financier of Liberty Steel's owner GFG Alliance.

The developments came after Cameron made his first comments on Greensill late Sunday, when he released an 1,800-word statement on his involvement with the firm.

But it could not be immediately confirmed whether the lobbying did lead to the Treasury reconsidering its move to reject the loan scheme application.

Cameron was said to have described the decision to exclude his employer's firm, Greensill Capital, from the multibillion-pound scheme as "nuts".

British finance minister Rishi Sunak stressed that Cameron's request was declined.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's debate, Ms Dodds said there was a need for a "completely independent" inquiry with a wider remit to investigate lobbying.

"His decision is that based on detailed information and assurances provided, Mr Cameron's activities do not fall within the criteria that require registration on the Register of Consultant Lobbyists". This did not ultimately happen, but Greensill - before its collapse - was given access to government-backed Covid loans.

The shadow cabinet office minister, Rachel Reeves, said what the government has announced "doesn't go far enough". Sources close to the ex-PM said last night Mr Cameron himself was not casting blame on anyone.

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